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Virtually Prepared for Spring

Bill Calkins

Bill Calkins

Virtually Prepared for Spring

Guest Article from Flourish, by Bill Calkins – Business Manager, Independent Garden Centers for Ball Horticultural Company

Right now, an entirely new gardener is walking into garden centers across North America. They know a little bit about plants, a lot about the stores they visit and have specific projects in mind. The plant knowledge might have come from family or friends, but some of it was no doubt gleaned from the Internet. They certainly spent a couple minutes online poking through local garden center websites and box store specials before hopping in the car. And they do not see gardening as a hobby – it’s functional, adding visual impact and value to their home landscape, balcony, patio, deck, etc, etc.
Simple Math:

77% of the U.S. uses the Internet.
http://www.internetworldstats.com/am/us.htm

68% of U.S. households garden.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/25/us-fitness-gardening-idUSTRE73O30620110425

There’s bound to be A LOT of crossover!

It’s time to pay close attention to this new customer and the gardening tools they use. Besides shovels, wheelbarrows, hoses and trowels, they use an array of devices and digital resources to get the job done. Right now, there are 195 iPhone apps and 52 iPad apps related to gardening and the list grows all the time.

It’s time to pay close attention to this new customer and the gardening tools they use. Besides  wheelbarrows, shovels, hoses and trowels, they use an array of devices and digital resources to get the job done.

As for finding a garden center, a quick search for the term garden center and a Zip code quickly get plenty of results.

It’s really as simple as that. This new consumer finds most products and services that way. Scanning reviews and checking out the store’s Facebook page are generally part of the process, as well. It’s going to be interesting to watch these gardeners over the next few years as their shopping styles and preferences shape the industry!

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